Fraud from Stolen Credit Card Number on Airbnb

Last year, I booked a room on Airbnb. Everything went okay for the reservation and stay. Last week, I wanted to book a room again with Airbnb before and after a tour in Europe. I sent an email to the host to check the availability for August 2017 but to my big surprise, the room was automatically booked as Airbnb had kept my credit card information in their files. All I wanted was to check the availability, as the website was not posting a calendar like the last time. A refund from Airbnb was made for both transactions the same day as the host understood what I initially wanted to do.

A week later, I received a phone call on my voicemail at home from a well-known USA airline company (we live in Canada) to check if I had booked flights in Las Vegas to New York for $900 that morning. I spent more than two hours trying to reach the airline’s customer service (the booking number of the flight was left on my voicemail) and getting my credit card company to cancel the card. I was lucky that the airline cancelled the transaction for those who were trying to use my credit card and the scammers were not allowed to board the flight. I also found out from my credit card company that while having a good time in Las Vegas, the scammers had also tried to make a purchase for $3000 before booking the flights but the transaction did not go through because it was over the limit.

I will never use Again again. Please share this information on social media before other innocent victims fall prey to those leeches. My computer is protected with top of the line anti-virus software, so someone on the Airbnb side has connections to steal my credit card information.

How To Lose $8000 and Two Months of Your Life

Ill start off by saying this was the first time I used Airbnb, and it was the last. This past January, my boyfriend and I traveled to New Zealand (for two weeks) with a few friends to go on tour for his music. On our third day of the trip, we started off by visiting a local beach since it was a perfect summer day. We eventually made it to Hamilton, the town where my boyfriend (Joey, AKA Hoody Time) was performing and where I booked the Airbnb. I looked at the message from the host to see if there was a chance we wouldn’t meet her that night and to use the lock box to get the key. We got into the unit, set our stuff down, and relaxed before we had to take off to the venue. We had the front sliding door open for some fresh air when two men, one on a bike, walked by our unit and began chatting with us. They looked like the lived in the building and were just saying hi. Joey invited the locals to our show.

Later that evening we left for the show, locked up the apartment, and never thought twice about anything. Around 1:00 AM we returned to the apartment to find all our backpacks were gone with our laptops, cameras, clothes, money, even my medication and birth control. We all began to panic and then Joey realized that the kitchen window was broken and ripped wide open. We called the police and Airbnb right away. We told them everything that was going on. Airbnb had told me that this was “not common” and they would pay for a hotel for the night if I wanted. I simply told them no because I didn’t want to start looking for a hotel at 2:00 in the morning. I then called the host to tell her that the place had been broken into and robbed, and her only response (in a calm voice) was “Oh wow, I’m sorry, ummm… I’ll try to be there as soon as possible in the morning.”

No one could calm down or fall asleep until 4:00 AM. The police told us they would send their investigation team in the morning and to not touch anything that could have fingerprints on it. By 8:00 AM we were all up. No one could sleep and we had to be on the road by 10 latest, to make it to our next location in time. I again called the host to ask where she was and when she will get here. Her response once again: “I’m so sorry this happened it’s not common. Ummm… I’ll try to be there as soon as I can.” I began to get annoyed since we told her we had to leave, and she showed no urge or concern about what had happened.

By 10:00 AM we left. I had once again called the police and Airbnb to tell them we had to go, both said it was okay and we left. The police told us to leave everything as is since it was a crime scene. Later that evening we had decided to cancel our Airbnb in Wellington and stay at a hotel instead. We all felt so vulnerable. As I was laying down to take a nap and catch up on sleep, my phone beeped with a new email from Airbnb. I opened it up and became angry immediately. The host had requested $300 for damages that she claimed we were responsible for. She had a long list of damaged items and stolen adapters and claimed we left shrimp tails in the kitchen kettle (no one ate shrimp that day). Enraged, I called Airbnb to tell them this was absolutely absurd and if I see one penny taken from my card I was going to call my bank and tell them it was fraud. We literally had been robbed less then 24 hours ago and she had the nerve to claim we did something. I called the police to update them on the situation and decided I needed to take a break from this whole thing for the rest of the night.

The next morning we all woke up feeling down. How could we not? Our whole lives were stolen. Three laptops were stolen, from three of us who freelance and now have a loss of wages while on the road. This is where things get good. We saw in the news a sunglasses store had been robbed the same night, and the guys were caught on CCTV. To our surprise, the guys we had been taking to the night of the robbery were the guys in the photos robbing the store. Then Joey got a phone call from the police with an update, but it wasn’t good. The detective and forensic team showed up to the apartment to find the host and her husband had fixed the window and cleaned the whole place up already. Airbnb’s policy – as well as the police’s and just common sense – is to not touch a crime scene. Within minutes of hearing the detective saying they couldn’t do much now, I called Airbnb to let them have it: “How could you let your host get away with this? Now we are thinking she is in on it!”

Weeks went by of going back and forth with the police for a formal police report since Airbnb was hassling me for one. In the meantime, the host had written a nasty review on me, filling it with lies, claiming it was weird she never met us and we took off. While I wrote responses, Airbnb removed them as this was an “ongoing investigation.” Finally, I got the police report. Not once, but twice did it say that the investigation couldn’t be completed as the host had cleaned up the place and fixed the damages. Now we couldn’t even have a chance in finding the robbers and maybe getting our stuff back.

Once Airbnb got the report, they called me to let me know that my case was closed because they got what they needed and that was the end of things. When asked what will happen with the host, “We will have a talk with her and tell her to handle things differently next time.” Next time? Not once was I given help or aid from Airbnb. They returned any money that was put down for a Airbnb in New Zealand, and when they asked for the receipts for a hotel we stayed in so they could reimburse me, they never even paid me back for it. So that was an extra $600 NZ. We have tweeted at Airbnb and the CEO multiple times and received nothing but a robotic response. Our only option is to now try and sue Airbnb or the host. In total, we are out $7000 in things that got robbed, $1500 in lost wages, and $600 in hotels that replaced Airbnb. I’m sick to my stomach over this whole thing. I have heard too many horror stories from both guests and hosts. I will never use Airbnb again.

Side note: My reviews were never put back up.

Airbnb Took $2,000 from my Debit Card without my Authorization

Airbnb has some of the most clever travel scammers online that have ever existed. I decided to surf the vacations options for the summer using Airbnb (my first big mistake). I forgot that about a year ago in order to set up my account, I provided a payment method, which was my debit card (the biggest mistake). So, while trying to make a reservation, I desperately tried to check where my payment information was stored, and I couldn’t find it: not in my profile settings, and not anywhere else. Being an IT professional, I clicked each and every available option. Then, when clicking the “reserve” button for the reservation, I was expecting to see what every consumer is supposed to see: a message confirming that a certain credit or debit card will be charged for such an amount for the vacation…right?

I was never informed that Airbnb would be charging me the entire vacation price up front. The next thing I realized they took over $2000 from my debit card causing me to lose lots of money in the form of bank fees. I don’t even want to start on how many resolution tickets I had to open with Airbnb and how much of a genius one has to be to actually find a way to contact Airbnb. You can find plenty of those stories here already.

I was lucky enough to speak with Airbnb on the phone twice where customer service is no more helpful than the sun in the middle of February. They just politely act like messengers who will “make sure to escalate your matter ASAP” with promises of a big guy with the awesome authority to get back to you within two days and resolve all of your issues. This never happens. Escalation through online resolution tickets is even more fun. You’d have to be Einstein to find a way to open one, then when you do you will be blessed to get their response via email in a week or so. The best part is the email rep is prompting you to reply back directly if you have further questions or need help. So, when you naively do it you will immediately get a message that your email is undeliverable.

Here is my question to Airbnb Hell readers: how many stories do you need to be posted here before bringing Airbnb to court? I think there are plenty already. It’s time to act.

Airbnb’s Insurance Policy Doesn’t Protect Guests

In February, our Airbnb rental in Mexico was burglarized. The police came and a report was filed. All told, between two couples, we lost over $4500 of our possessions. The owner was very helpful; he filed a claim with his insurance company, which was denied about two weeks later because we were renters. Our personal homeowner’s policies covered all of our losses except our $500 deductibles for each couple, which might mean that the cost of our policies could go up.

I contacted Airbnb Customer Service over 12 days ago, to collect the two $500 deductibles from them. I was told to send all corresponding information to them, which I did. It has now been almost two weeks since Airbnb’s last contact with me. I have attempted to have other emails answered by their employees to no avail. I am now very angry at the rudeness of Airbnb. In the last two days, I have called the 855-424-7262 number four times. I was on hold for over 15 minutes each time with music playing, then when the music stopped (all four times), and I thought, yeah, someone is going to talk to me, I was disconnected. All four times.

I am mad and will not give up trying to reach Airbnb. They cover insurance for their homeowners; there should be insurance coverage for their renters as well. We are half of their business. My first communication with one of their representatives went very well. I thought this was a good company. However, in the ensuing two weeks, with no followups and reading about problems many other people have had trying to contact them, trying to reach someone by phone only to be disconnected four times after 15 minutes on hold, I am now convinced that Airbnb does not care. The CEOs have made their millions (billions) and they just don’t care anymore. I will be renting from HomeAway and VRBO in the future. Step up to the plate Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia. Someone at Airbnb should be reading the complaints and frustrations of your homeowners and renters on this website.

Overcharged Payments with Currency Exchange

I have been overcharged by Airbnb over and over again. I have just booked accommodations in Italy and was quoted the price in USD. However, I was charged in YTL despite not having any bank account connected to Turkey in my Airbnb account. Airbnb converts the amount to a foreign currency and takes a hefty commission actually without doing anything. Now I will also be charged by Amex for a foreign currency conversion. It is daylight robbery actually. Despite me taking precautions to prevent it, this has happened again and again. There is also no way of contacting Airbnb – no customer service whatsoever.

Ring Stolen by Host Leads to Customer Service Nightmare

I rented a condo in Panama City Beach, Florida in January 2017 to visit an old friend with terminal cancer. Upon arrival, everything was fine. When I returned home I realized a diamond ring that belonged to my late sister-in-law was missing. As you may imagine I was sick. I have never lost anything and that would be the worst thing to lose. I sent a message through Airbnb to the host, asked them to please look for it, and reminded them in what bedroom I stayed. Low and behold, they found it on January 31st 2017. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was. They asked for my address and for how much to insure the package, and I provided the information.

It is now March 14th and I still do not have the ring. I contacted Airbnb on February 10th after multiple attempts to communicate with the host to which they would no longer respond. Airbnb reviewed all the messages and opened a case. I have not been contacted by Airbnb once. I have called multiple times, been on hold for 30-45 minutes, spoken to someone who stated that my case has been assigned to someone and they would be contacting me, and to date there has been absolutely no contact. Every day I call Airbnb, hold for a long period of time, speak to someone and that is it. I have asked for a manager or supervisor each time and was always told they were busy. I have insisted that I speak with someone and have been hung up on three times now. I am not sure what to do. I have contacted the local police department, filed a report, and also reported Airbnb to the Better Business Bureau. It’s bad enough I lost the ring, but the worst part is lack of help from Airbnb. I will never use them again.

No Solution to Accidentally Using Instant Book

This is only the second time that I have used Airbnb. I understand the process to be: I message the host and the host returns the message and you both decide if there should be a booking. I thought I was messaging Dorothy, based in Washington DC. There is a new feature to automatically book. So that’s what happened; I didn’t want to automatically book. She has been a host since January 17th. I messaged her instantly that this had been a mistake, and requesting that she return my funds. I called Airbnb to return my funds. There are no features on Airbnb to correct this mistake. I cancelled the booking, but both Airbnb and Dorothy are refusing to give me the money back. The charge was $3389. Then I got a message after my multiple calls to Airbnb over a week and a half later that I would get a partial refund of $2477. Then I received another email from an Airbnb representative saying I would only get $2161. I said this was unacceptable. I did not agree to a partial refund, which is what he was trying to state in his email. I said I wanted a full refund. They insinuated that I couldn’t get a refund. They will not return even a partial refund if I don’t agree to their terms. This is how they trick you.

The thieving host and I texted a lot. She was trying to convince me she had nothing to do with the transactions, but as I found out later the hosts have the power to issue a complete and full refund; she is just refusing to do so. She lied and the amount she can steal from me is over $600. All because there is no recourse for correcting the automatic booking process. This is wrong and it’s stealing. I think this new feature is a scam on Airbnb’s part and the hosts (at least my thieving host) don’t care if they harm customers financially. Airbnb’s customer service is not helpful and difficult to reach. The representatives will not speak with you or hear your complaints. Then if you don’t agree with the resolution, they threaten you with getting nothing back. Dorothy from Washington DC is a scam artist because she knew this was a mistake. I tried to send her a message. I told her the second it happened because there is no feature to undo the automatic booking. She made a fast $600 with no regard to the harm she caused. I’m a hard working woman with four children, two in college. For Airbnb to have unhelpful and threatening customer service agents and thieving hosts keep these funds and not correct this mistake immediately is egregious. Beware of the instant booking. Thieves like Dorothy use this as a means of stealing your money and customer service representatives will not help you. If anything, they will actually threaten to withhold partial payments if you don’t agree with the resolution. I don’t agree with their resolution. I want and need all of my money back.

Airbnb Refuses to Pay Host Protection Insurance for Stolen TV

I am a new Airbnb host. I started listing my property on December 1st, 2016. The first 45 days were ok: the guests were friendly, and using Airbnb helped me earn some money. However, on the eighteenth of January, 2017, everything changed. One guest stole my $600 TV. He checked in at 11:30 AM. At that time, the room still had not been prepared so I let him stay in the living room (where I keep the TV) for a half hour. I believe that he saw the TV when he was waiting for his room. Then, at 2:15 PM, I went to school. When I left, he was the only person staying in my house. Then, when I came back at 4:00 PM, I saw my TV was missing. I tried to knock on his bedroom door, and no one answered me. After I opened the door, I saw his room was vacant. That means he left my house. That’s when I knew that he stole my TV. The guest was a thief. His profile certainly was deceptive. Airbnb is always saying they are part of a community of safety, but their guests are stealing people’s property.

I want to share the horrible experience when I contacted Airbnb customer service. I contacted them on the day that the TV was stolen. The representative answered the call, asked about the situation, and then she promised me that Airbnb will solve the case and pay me. She set up a case for me and I provided the evidence. After that, I was thinking my case would be solved easily; in actuality, it was not. After two weeks, customer service contacted me and told me that I needed to set up a case in resolution center, as it was the only way to get paid. Why didn’t they let me know that when I called on January 18th? After I submitted the case, there was still no resolution to my case for two weeks.

Two weeks later I received an email stating I had not provided evidence to them so they closed the case. I actually provided evidence on the first day. I called customer service again. They said they have no information about investigations with the Trust and Safety Team, so the only way I could get compensation would be to set up another case in the resolution center. I did that, then they closed my case again today without any notice. It has already one and a half months, and I still have not been paid. Where is the trust? Where is the HPI (Host Protection Insurance)? Where are the promises from Airbnb customer service? Now I believe Airbnb’s host protection insurance and their customer service are both jokes. I am appealing to hosts who have similar cases to get together with me and sue Airbnb for their unreliable HPI. The HPI is fooling hosts.

Listed on Airbnb without my Knowledge or Permission

This is under “host stories” but I was actually an unwilling host. A woman named Richelle rented an apartment in Vancouver from me on a 12-month lease ostensibly for herself to live in, under an ordinary tenancy agreement. However, I soon discovered she had it listed on Airbnb (and Craigslist) as a “luxury apartment”, charging $125/night in low season, under a profile name, “Ragna” (in which she appears in disguise). The ‘house rules’ in the ad advise guests to be “discreet” about their stay. “Ragna” has some 434 reviews for other properties on Airbnb – all very likely owned by people who have no idea that strangers are staying in their property over and over again. Of course, trying to contact Airbnb to have the ad removed is like going down a rabbit hole. How it can be that Airbnb would allow someone to post ads for a property they do not own without proof that the actual owner has given permission is perplexing.

Washington DC Guest Steals Electronics… and more

For my first experience hosting with Airbnb, I hosted a gentleman from the UK for the inauguration weekend and Women’s March in Washington DC. When I arrived home, I discovered he had taken every item that may have been indicative of someone other than him living there (photos, art, my guitar) and stuffed them into our closets – thus, damaging the items – that my roommate and I explicitly stated in our rules not to go into. He also stole both of my Amazon fire sticks from the TVs. The next morning, I also discovered he had stolen all of my underwear. It’s been two weeks and even though I immediately provided photos and receipts to Airbnb, not only are they completely unresponsive but they withheld his payment of $800 to me until I held their feet to the fire. At that point they explained they were holding the funds because of an “issue with the user account.” When I asked if he complained, they stated that it was “more than that,” whatever that means. I have called and emailed multiple times and not only has nobody been in touch with us, but they haven’t refunded what I’ve had to spend to replace the items. They keep telling me they hope this doesn’t discourage us from hosting in the future. Thanks, but after I get my place swept for bugs, I’ll absolutely never be using Airbnb’s horrible hosting service again.